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Hall of Fame - Martin Banks




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MARTIN BUFORD BANKS, JR. (1936–2004)

Jazz trumpeter Martin Banks was born in Austin, Texas, on June 21, 1936. He was the son of Rose and Martin Buford Banks, Sr. His father Buford, played trombone with great skill in several bands, including Chicago’s King Kolax Orchestra, which included tenor saxophone giant John Coltrane. This was the younger Banks' original instrument, but he had arms too short to play the full range of notes on the trombone, so he switched to trumpet in the sixth grade. Martin, Jr., grew up in East Austin and attended L. L. Campbell Elementary School and Anderson High School before moving to San Francisco to live with an uncle in 1953. He completed his high school education there and received a B.A. degree from City College of San Francisco.

He moved on to Los Angeles, where, as part of the local scene, he made his recording debut with saxophonist Dexter Gordon in 1961 on The Resurgence of Dexter Gordon. Although Banks never recorded under his own name, he appeared on sessions with Ray Charles (Sticks and Stones), Archie Shepp (Magic of Ju-Ju), Harold Land (Take Aim), Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Freddie King (My Feeling for the Blues), and more. He was hired for Ray Charles' touring band, which took him to New York where Banks made his name as a journeyman musician in the 1960s and 1970s. 

In New York, Banks established an astounding résumé that included working in the bands of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, James Brown, B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Sun Ra, and many others. He was also in the house band at the Apollo Theater and at Motown Records. Banks also worked with Texan tenor saxophonists Booker Ervin and David “Fathead” Newman, backing up the former on his 1967 album entitled Booker ‘n’ Brass. Among his many recordings and other musical accomplishments, Banks also played on the Broadway musical Hair. For several years during the 1970s he played in the house band at Walt Disney World in Orlando.

Banks returned to live in Austin in 1988. He regularly played at the Elephant Room and also taught music at elementary schools in the area. He became an active member in the local jazz scene playing with James Polk, Alex Coke, Tina Marsh, and Ephraim Owens in groups that included JAMAD, Countenance., the Creative Opportunity Orchestra, and the Texas Trumpets. Rarely heard as a soloist with groups earlier in his career, Banks would, in 
later years, solo on albums produced by such Austin ensembles as Tina Marsh’s Creative Opportunity Orchestra and Slim Richey’s Dream Band. To the latter’s album entitled Live and Unrehearsed, recorded in 2000, Banks contributed a lovely muted solo on Erroll Garner’s “Misty.” An unassuming musician, Martin Banks was a dependable sideman who always added to any group that called on him for a supporting role. On February 26, 1998, along with jazz saxophonist Larry D. C. Williams, Martin Banks was honored by Austin mayor Kirk Watson who officially declared the day as “Larry D. C. Williams and Martin Banks Day.” Banks is a member of the Texas Music Hall of Fame and a pavilion in Austin’s Givens Park was named in his honor in 2005. Banks died in Austin on August 20, 2004. In 2010 Banks was inducted into the Austin Music Memorial.

Discography

The Resurgence Of Dexter Gordon 4 versions
Jazzland
1960
Awakening!! 5 versions
Contemporary Records
1962
Slightly Latin 6 versions
Limelight
1966
Ray Charles 5 versions
AMIGA
1966
Slightly Latin ‎(LP, Album)
Mercury
1966
Booker 'n' Brass 5 versions
Pacific Jazz Records
1967
The Magic Of Ju-Ju 15 versions
Impulse!, Impulse!, Impulse!
1968
Stick 'Em UpArchie Shepp - For Losers 4 versions
Impulse!
1970
On To A-Pot-O-MaxGalt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band* - Galt MacDermot's First Natural Hair Band ‎(LP, Album)
United Artists Records
1970
Blues Power No. 6 - Freddie King Is A Blues Master 3 versions
Atlantic
1973
Spoo Pee DooArchie Shepp - Kwanza 8 versions
Impulse!
1974
Kirk's Works ‎(2xLP, Comp)
Mercury
1977
Without A Song ‎(LP, Album)
Inner City Records
1978
Take Aim 4 versions
Blue Note
1980
I Want A Little Girl 2 versions
Pablo Records
1981
Jazz Giants ‎(2xLP, Comp, Mono)
Curcio
1981
Indigo Blue 2 versions
Milestone Records
1983
Gimme Love ‎(LP, Album)
Gaydem Production
1983
Down On The Deuce ‎(LP)
Milestone Records
1984
In The Black ‎(LP)
Evertone-Muse Inc.
1985
Pink Elephants On Parade (From Dumbo)Various - Stay Awake (Various Interpretations Of Music From Vintage Disney Films) 10 versionsA&M Records
1988
Pink Elephants On Parade (From Dumbo)Various - Stay Awake (Various Interpretations Of Music From Vintage Disney Films) ‎(LP, Album, Comp)A&M Records, Festival Records Pty. Ltd.
1988
Rahsaan: The Complete Mercury Recordings Of Roland Kirk ‎(11xCD + Box, Comp)Mercury
1990
Tina Marsh / Creative Opportunity Orchestra, The - Transformation Volume 1‎(Cass, Album, Ltd, Spe)
CreOp Muse
1992
The Laws Of Jazz / Flute By-Laws ‎(CD, Album, Comp, RE, RM)
Atlantic
1994
It's Lewis ‎(CD, Album)
Antone's Records
1994
Tina Marsh, & CO2 - World Wide ‎(CD, Album)
CreOp Muse
1998
Ray Charles And Betty Carter - Ray Charles And Betty Carter / Dedicated To You ‎(CD, Comp, RM)
Rhino Entertainment Company
1998
East Dallas SpecialVarious - Blue Pacific Funk - Wailin' On The West Coast ‎(CD, Comp)
Blue Note
1998
Sticks And StonesRay Charles - The Very Best Of Ray Charles ‎(CD, Comp)
Rhino Records (2)
2000
Ripped Open By Metal Explosions / Let The Sunshine In ‎(7", RE, Single)Kilmarnock
2001
Home RunVarious - Jazzland Original Jazz Classics Sampler ‎(CD, Comp, RM)Original Jazz Classics,Jazzland
2002
Dexter Blows ‎(2xCD, Comp, RE, RM)
Not Now Music
2011
Spoo Pee Doo and 1 more…Archie Shepp - For Losers / Kwanza ‎(CD, Comp, RM)
Impulse!
2011
My Feeling For The Blues 3 versions
Atlantic, Rhino Records (2),Cotillion
2012
Flute By-Laws 2 versions
Atlantic
Unknown